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Giannina

Kirov in Orange County

32 posts in this topic

Andre, Art - glad to hear that both of you thought so highly of Vishneva's White Swan. I did find her very dramatic and while I prefer Pavlenko in this I've had a nagging feeling that I caught Vishneva on a bad night this last time (in her most recent appearance with ABT), and that ABT's staging puts her at a big disadvantage to begin with. I find their production totally without heart or soul and that's a huge obstacle for any ballerina. I was hoping to see her in the Sergeyev staging but I couldn't get enough time off to catch her performance while I'm in Chicago. I bought a ticket for her Sunday matinee in Boston but it turns out she's dancing on Friday night instead. Barring any last minute cast changes it looks like I won't get to see her in her home company's Swan Lake at all. I guess I'll just hope that Lopatkina & Pavlenko don't cancel and I get to see both of them in Chicago as planned...

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Swan Lake - Sunday Afternoon

I meant to post this as soon as I returned from SoCal, but a rather sad personal situation got in the way...

Let me start with a rant... This was one of the worst audiences I've had the displeasure of seeing a performance with in a very long time... Crying babies, chirping cell phones, murmur of conversation well into the first few minutes after every intermission, untimely applause—when Vishneva lined for the start of the fouettés, the audience started clapping before a note sounded :rolleyes:... It came very close to ruining a good afternoon of ballet for me.

Fortunately, the 'A' company showed up to perform and save the afternoon... The music started, the curtain went up to reveal the set, and I felt that comfortable feeling of another Mariinsky Swan Lake—not one that is perfect, not one I like unquestionably, but one that is always performed with a fervor approaching that of national pride. My previous outing had featured the pairing of Lopatkina and Zelensky and that had been immensely satisfying. I had loved the lyricisim of her Odette and the fine rapport she had with Zelensky's Sigfried... Her Odile, however had something missing. Anyway, I was excited by the prospect of seeing what Vishneva would bring to the role, and whether she and Fadeev could conjure up some chemistry...

Fadeev was out for some reason and I got to see Kolb who was adequate in every respect—I don't think the Mariinsky's Sigfried gives the dancers too much to work with. Most importantly, he and Vishneva engaged each other very well, giving me a nearly unforgettable White Swan Pas de Deux...

...and here, I think the credit goes to Vishneva. As others mentioned, Visheva's approach to the role is more dramatic in character giving that scene a different complexion, a 'human' dimension, perhaps—very much in the moment and injecting nuances as if on the fly. Her Odile was wicked but not quite seductive enough for my absolute liking...and at this point (and into the final act) I noticed the technical sharpness to drop off somewhat.

Rothbarth was danced well by Chashchegorov, though I missed the extra gusto Kuznetsov usually throws into the role.

OK, so we may have our favourites in the principal roles, but invariably an undisputed star in any Mariinsky Swan Lake is the corps. They were in near-perfect form this afternoon, beautifully framing the lake scenes :clapping:

I also give uniform good marks to the various other dancers, the orchestra (mostly), and the orchestra soloists, who rendered those breathtaking musical passages with tenderness and rarely heard (in a ballet orchestra) technical excellence.

So, dosvidanya, Mariinsky Ballet until the next time I'm in St. Petersburg.

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[Newbie posting; I'll confess.]
Welcome to BT, Peter :clapping:

Thank you for your post.

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About cell phones, Windflyer reminded me of an unusual incident, a chirping cell phone at the Hermitage theater which came from... the jacket of one of the viola player in the orchestra pit! There was nothing she could do as she could not stop playing!

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About cell phones, Windflyer reminded me of an unusual incident, a chirping cell phone at the Hermitage theater which came from... the jacket of one of the viola player in the orchestra pit! There was nothing she could do as she could not stop playing!

That reminds me of Esa-Pekka Salonen's comment about his friend, Valeri Gergiev, (paraphrased) that Gergiev is happiest when he's conducting, because the podium is the only place he doesn't have to answer his cell phone.

(BTW, veering off-topic for a second, Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra came through Seattle on their way to Vancouver, BC, with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, with superb soloist Alexandre Torvadze -- what a privilege to hear him get organ-like tones from a piano -- and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11. [My only beef is that during the ovation, he asked the woodwinds to stand together, instead of giving a solo bow to the English horn soloist.] And his cell phone didn't ring once.)

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Yes: Cellphones that are not "off" or on "vibrate," finicky small children, and talking patrons is annoying!

THE MUSIC CORNER

I forgot to mention, at Uliana's performance Oct 20 the music values were a little below par IMO.

Conductor Pavel Bubelnikov almost looks like a double for the old maestro Tchaikovsky himself. He wore (the 'sometimes' Valery Gergiev Look), black silk pyjamas. (?) I'm sorry, but I'm a traditionalist: What's wrong with white tie and cutaway black tails?

Bubelnikov reasonably aquitted the MT Orchestra of the score, despite the almost (IMO) non-existent acoustics in Segerstrom Hall. But on Friday night the brass section played notes that Tchaikovsky didn't write :clapping: , in various places, with incidents elegantly spaced across all the acts. In the woodwind section, one clarinet in particular had some profound difficulties. Never, never, never under the late Victor Fedotov.

One commentator in Petersburg on another site confirmed this when I inquired about it. She told me that this always occurs under Bubelnikov when he conducts Swan Lake at home, and no other staff conductor in the Maryinsky. Fortunately, Uliana and Co. were unfazed by this.

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...She told me that this always occurs under Bubelnikov when he conducts Swan Lake at home, and no other staff conductor in the Maryinsky.
Wow... I never thought of him as the most impressive of the house conductors at the Mariinsky, but did not realize the extent of chronic problems with Swan Lake. I got to hear quite a bit of him during this year's White Nights–in both Opera and Ballet, and he generally was 'on' :angel_not:

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